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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sleep apnea, metabolic disease, and the cutting edge of therapy.

  • Author(s): Light, Matthew
  • McCowen, Karen
  • Malhotra, Atul
  • Mesarwi, Omar A
  • et al.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common, and many cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have established OSA as an independent risk factor for the development of a variety of adverse metabolic disease states, including hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has long been the mainstay of therapy for OSA, but definitive studies demonstrating the efficacy of CPAP in improving metabolic outcomes, or in reducing incident disease burden, are lacking; moreover, CPAP has variable rates of adherence. Therefore, the future of OSA management, particularly with respect to limiting OSA-related metabolic dysfunction, likely lies in a coming wave of alternative approaches to endophenotyping OSA patients, personalized care, and defining and targeting mechanisms of OSA-induced adverse health outcomes.

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